More than two years after Bradley Coates was killed in a hit and run, Kevin Christian Ewen has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and failing to stop at the scene of an accident where death was caused.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Ewen went to a house party in the Rutherford neighbourhood in south Edmonton on March 14, 2021. Coates was living at the house, and the men did not know each other.
At the party, Ewen and Coates were both drinking, court documents say. At one point, Ewen told guests a story about how he was robbed when he was in Saskatchewan. Coates said he already knew about the robbery because his cousin did it. Tension grew between Coates and Ewen and another party-goer diffused the situation.
A while later, Ewen was holding a red hat with an insignia on it. Coates understood the hat to be associated with the Hells Angels, and confronted Ewen. Coates threw the hat at Ewen’s feet and asked: “Are you serious? You support this?”
The men both became angry again, and Ewen was told to leave, according to the agreed statement of facts.
Ewen left the party, but returned and picked up the red hat and left again, and he was seen getting into his car.
Coates stayed inside the house for a few minutes and then said he was going out. He found Ewen nearby outside his car.
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The men started to fist fight and wrestled in the street, court documents said. Neighbours said they saw the fight and said it appeared Coates had the upper hand.
The fight stopped when Ewen pulled Coates’ sweater over his head, and then he went back to his car. Coates didn’t pursue him.
Once Ewen was in his car, he started to drive, but instead of going away from Coates, he sped towards Coates, the agreed statement of facts explained.
Coates was almost at a stop at the T-intersection when Ewen deliberately hit him with his car going 39 km/h. The front bumper struck Coates on the outside of his right leg and he tumbled on the hood. Ewen did not swerve or brake to avoid crashing into Coates, court documents show.
Ewen continued to accelerate after the crash, and it caused Coates to be carried on the hood briefly and then thrown off, striking his head forcefully on the pavement. Ewen drove away.
Neighbours called 911, and Coates was taken to hospital where he died three days later.
Ewen left a voicemail with his girlfriend and said he thought he struck someone with his vehicle and that he thought he “killed the kid.”
When Ewen got to his home, he told his girlfriend he hit the guy so hard he went flying in the air.
In the days that followed, the accused had his girlfriend move his car for him to a cul-de-sac. He got rides from coworkers to work. He eventually took the car to work.
On March 25, 10 days after Coates was killed, Ewen was arrested and charged with murder. Police seized the car, which did have minor damage consistent with striking a pedestrian, court heard.
Ewen was also wanted by police for a different hit and run that happened in January 2020. Ewen was dating a different girlfriend for four months. On that night, they were both drinking. The pair had an argument over a vape, and there was a physical fight. He threatened to ram her car. He went outside, followed by his girlfriend.
Ewen got into his truck, his girlfriend held onto the door handle. He reversed and she was dragged along. She lost her grip and fell to the ground, her leg ended up under the truck and he continued to reverse and ran over her ankle. He continued to reverse and damaged her vehicle. Ewen fled the scene.
Ewen pleaded guilty to failing to remain at the scene of an accident — for driving after running over his girlfriend’s leg — but he did not admit when he drove away he knew she’d been hurt.
Ewen is scheduled to be back in court for his sentencing hearing on Sept. 28.
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